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A response from Surriekha Khan about Merlins Wood’s REDD projects in Pakistan

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A response from Surriekha Khan about Merlins Wood's REDD projects in PakistanOn 16 February 2012, REDD-Monitor posted an article about a UK-based company called Merlins Wood. The company has signed two Memoranda of Understanding for two REDD-type projects in Pakistan, one with the Secretary of Forests of the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and one with the government of Pakistan administered Kashmir.

REDD-Monitor raised a series of questions about the projects and on 17 February 2012, the owner and founder of Merlins Wood, Surriekha Khan, sent a response. “I have provided you with an overall picture covering all the points you raised,” she wrote, “rather than individual answers to all your queries.”

Below is Surriekha Khan’s response. It raises many questions and leaves REDD-Monitor’s previous questions unanswered or inadequately answered. REDD-Monitor questions are posted below and REDD-Monitor and looks forward to posting Surriekha Khan’s response to these questions.

From: Surriekha Khan
Date: 17 February 2012 17:39
Subject: Re: Merlins Wood and REDD-type projects in Pakistan
To: Chris Lang
 
Hello Chris,
 
Hope you are well and greetings from London. My name is Surriekha Khan and I am the owner/founder of Merlins Wood. Thanks for the email.
 
Sadly you have been somewhat misinformed by your sources. Your article is inaccurate on a number of points. However, I appreciate the right to reply, I only wish in the interests of balance you had contacted me before ‘going live’ with the story.
 
Please find the answers to your questions below. I have provided you with an overall picture covering all the points you raised, rather than individual answers to all your queries.
 
I would appreciate your thoughts on what you read and hope that you publish a follow on story to provide a full and fair assessment of the project and my company.
 
Regards
 
Surriekha Khan
 
Background
 
On May 4 2011, my company Merlins Wood signed an MOU with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a province in northern Pakistan, to jointly develop and implement a REDD project in the districts of Swat, Battagram and Manserha.
 
The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has around of 1.6 million hectares of forest and our project area covers 232,000 hectares of the forest area in the province.
 
Half of the land in our project area is state-owned forest and the other half is owned by private landlords (classified as Guzara forests).
 
As part of the project, my family is one of the private landlords who has owned 34,000 hectares of forest in the project area since the mid 1800s, The company Merlins Wood was founded by me to develop REDD projects in Pakistan to preserve and protect critical remaining forest areas in the country. This land in KP owned by my family provided the foundation for our first project in KP.
 
After discussing the plans for a project on the land owned by my family with other land-owners in the region and representatives of the environment ministry in the provincial government, I personally convinced them (one by one) that the co-benefits of the project were such that we should widen the area and work in partnership to develop a province-wide REDD programme.
 
Deforestation is a huge problem in Pakistan and is particularly high in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
 
REDD, whatever you feel its shortcomings may be, is the ONLY alternative available to us at the moment to halt this alarming trend before we lose all our forest cover.
 
So, the current of 222,831 hectares of primarily Himalayan moist temperate forests was earmarked for the project based on consenting land-owners, which is intended to be a ‘pilot’ for the province and other provinces in Pakistan.
 
Merlins Wood represents the interest of ALL the major landholders with the consent and support – who are heads of their communities – in the project area.
 
They are namely, Nawabzada Mohammed Fayyaz Khan, Nawabzada Ayaz Rustam Khan, Saleem Ullah Khan, Mohammed Irshad Khan, Jahanzeb Khan Advocate, Adil Nawaz Khan, Khalid Khan, Haji Jan Mohammed Khan, Mohammed Nawaz Khan (Jagirdar Hillan), Fida Mohammed Khan Allai, Mohammed Farosh Khan Allai, Kurshid Mohammed Khan Thakot, Atta Ullah Kha Thakot, Ameer Khan Kohistan, Abdul Rashid Khan, Afsar Khan, Ghulam Mustafa Shimlai, Syed Vakil Shah Manshera, Syed Nasir Shah Manshera, Shehzad Hussain Shah Mansehra, Mohammed Ali Wald, Mohammed Ajmal Kangwal Allai.
 
Land tenure rights in the project areas are clear and NONE of the forests are ‘disputed’. This information is publically available in Pakistan.
 
Consultation with all landholders and the communities they represent began early in 2009 and it was jointly agreed by all parties to develop a project in partnership with the Provincial Government through Merlins Wood.
 
SAFI are also now aware of this fact and have discovered that they were misinformed.
 
The Project
 
The ‘KP Project’ is being carried out under the leadership of Merlins Wood and the Directorates staff of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest and Wildlife Departments.
 
Other collaborating partners include the local communities living in and around the three districts of Battagram, Mansehra and Swat and agencies under UN One. Carbon development is being outsourced to the leading carbon development technical specialist in the field who works in partnership with Merlin’s Wood and the government.
 
The overall goal of the KP Project is to reduce GHG emissions from deforestation and degradation in the KP Province, while at the same time providing economic incentives to communities for sustainable forest management.
 
This goal is to be achieved through the implementation of a variety of specific project activities, including land-use planning, forest protection, assisted natural regeneration (ANR), fire prevention, social mobilization and education, distribution of fuel-efficient stoves, planting of woodlots, agricultural intensification, livestock management and non-timber forest product (NTFP) development activities.
 
The key drivers of deforestation in the project areas include: conversion of forest to crop land, conversion of forest land to settlements, illegal logging for commercial sale, fuel wood gathering, free grazing of livestock, forest fires, leasing of land for mining.
 
According to the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, forestry is a provincial responsibility and provinces may draft and implement their own forest policies within the framework of federal forest and environmental policy.
 
This was further reinforced by the passage of the 18th amendment of the Constitution, which dissolved the Ministry of Environment and devolved all environmental-related responsibilities to the provinces last year.
 
This same amendment also changed the name of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
 
The legacy of colonial-era rulemaking in Pakistan, going back to the 1894 Forest Policy, is a top-down, non-participatory approach to the administration and management of forests in Pakistan.
 
This approach focused on revenue generation from forests rather than sustainable management, and largely excluded communities from the decision making process.
 
Excessive timber extraction in Pakistan led to the implementation of a ban on commercial timber harvesting that became effective in 1993 and is still in force today. But this has not stopped or even meaningfully slowed the deforestation rates on Pakistan’s few remaining forests.
 
Provincial Forest Departments (FDs) are responsible for the planning, execution and implementation of forest policies and programmes. In KP, the large majority of forests are encumbered with rights of the local communities for whom forest resources are critically important for subsistence.
 
Many of the forest policies enacted in Pakistan were not appropriate for land-use patterns in KP. Communities with traditional access to forest land for subsistence never fully accepted the role of the FD as stewards of forest resources, resulting in constant confrontation between government and communities.
 
To remedy this situation, KP became the first province in Pakistan to reform its forest law, enacting the NWFP Forest Ordinance of 2002, which contains explicit provisions relating to the implementation of community-based forest management.
 
The ‘KP Project’ will benefit from the active involvement of provincial government agencies and the above provisions.
 
At the provincial level, the Forest Department will lead other government agencies in design and implementation of the project activities and support for the on-going monitoring of the carbon credits created from the project.
 
Other provincial agencies that will be involved in this project are Forest Development Corporation, Wildlife Department, Fisheries Department, Agriculture Department, Livestock Department, Local Government and Rural Development Department. The supporting agencies will have their roles in the areas of their relevance to thematic focus of individual project activities
 
Together government agencies, existing community groups and local organisations will be involved in the implementation of project activities and the on-going monitoring of the carbon credits created from the project through use of participatory field data collection.
 
The level and intensity of the involvement of each of these organisations will be determined by expertise and relevancy to project activities and monitoring requirements. But the goal is to ensure that project actions will not only address drivers of deforestation, but build alternative livelihoods for forest dependent communities and that capacity to sustainable manage these forests will be built with all project participants.
 
For example, existing Village Development Committees (VDCs), Women Organisation (WOs) and Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMA) will be involved in capacity development, social mobilisation and income generation activities.
 
These organisations will also be monitoring the project actions in the field.
 
Progress
 
To date, we have completed a feasibility study for the project, which was completed by a leading firm in the field. This was prepared on the back of information gained during field visits and through consultative workshops with foresters in the region over the last three years that Merlins Wood has been planning and preparing the project.
 
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest department also has a wealth of historical data relating to these forests, which are divided into compartments for management purposes.
 
The Project area is home to more than 600 flora and fauna species, including snow leopards and the endangered Kashmir Markhor.
 
Villages dependent on these forests are organised through the formation of Village Development Committees, each maintaining its own targets and goals and receiving training for Project implementation and monitoring.
 
The KP project activities were evaluated for their potential to increase carbon sequestration and reduce emissions, and based on the eligibility guidelines under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) for the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project type.
 
It is presently feasible under the VCS and CCB guidelines to develop the carbon from REDD in KP Province. Given the remarkable social and biodiversity benefits of the project, it is highly likely that the project will qualify for CCB Gold status in at least two areas.
 
Carbon development work for creation of the VCS and CCB PDs has now begun and this will include the signing of a benefits sharing agreement between all stakeholders as well as a detailed forest management and project implementation plan with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The final benefits sharing terms and under discussion and not yet finalised.
 
As part of the Carbon Development process we will be producing a provincial baseline and our project will be nested within that. This will provide Pakistan with valuable experience that they can leverage for the development of their national REDD+ program.
 
Landowners or communities/groups with tenure will sign a management and benefits sharing agreement with Merlins Wood and only those land tenure holders who do will participate.
 
They are not to be forced to sign nor can carbon credits be claimed on their land without their approval, support and participation. Please be clear of this.
 
The Project Document, which will be developed for the project, as you are no doubt aware, is a public document and will be available for scrutiny. We are hoping to complete this process by September.
 
So, in summary:
 

    The KP Project is a community-backed initiative, which has the support of the provincial government and will be the pilot and catalyst for a province-wide REDD initiative.
     
    All our agreements with the provincial government have gone through a rigorous vetting process, where all concerned departments have had the opportunity to raise concerns and questions.
     
    The Provincial Government is not so naive as to sign an MOU with us without us clearly demonstrating that we have the consent and truly represent the communities whose lives this project will impact.
     
    The concerned government departments and the communities dependent on the forests in the region will implement the project jointly.
     
    This project has been in the public domain for over a year now, but you choose to highlight it now.

 
Merlins Wood
 
Merlins Wood in the UK has a small staff and small offices in Berkeley Square UK. We feel the best use of our resources is to keep ‘central costs’ to a minimum.
 
No fancy websites no big pay packets, we are no ‘Asia Pulp and Paper.
 
To date, the venture has been funded by personal contributions made by shareholders in the company. Naturally, we have an interest in the project because a portion of the forests belong to us.
 
We have an office in Pakistan and are currently recruiting staff there. The idea is to create jobs in the region through the project. We are a small family-owned company with a big goal. However, we are extremely proud of what we have achieved so far.
 
To date we have created the political will for REDD+ to be implemented, we have gained the support of the communities and have made key strategic alliances with partners who can genuinely make this project a success.
 
It is very difficult to convince Western businesses to commit to this type of project in Pakistan.
 
If we had been peddling hydrocarbons or minerals our job would have been much easier.
 
As for carbon being the ‘worst performing commodity’, we have no control over that. We are not market experts or soothsayers.
 
Nevertheless, we are confident that the number of credits our project produces will more than adequately cover costs, provide an income for all stakeholders and will ensure the project succeeds. Most importantly, it will help halt the rampant deforestation that is destroying vast swathes of forest in the region.
 
Merlins Wood has also signed a deal with Kashmir to help the state government develop a REDD project in the region on state-owned forests and this project is in the early stages of development.
 
We are currently doing a feasibility study for the Kashmir project and a decision on how we will proceed on that project will be made following the report.
 
On one hand you say we have a share capital of £200 and on the other we are accused of bribing our way to a deal in Kashmir, does that add up?
 
While we may have no experience of implementing a REDD project, we have allied ourselves with the leading experts in the field to drive forward development of the carbon asset and we are working with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who has highly trained foresters with the infrastructure, manpower and expertise to manage a ‘forest conservation project’. Most are graduates of the renowned Pakistan Forest Institute in Peshawar.
 
However, more importantly, these are our ancestral lands and we have managed them for hundreds of years. And when you look at the newness of REDD+, very few projects are being developed by organisations with experience, and understanding the dynamics of deforestation, how to work productively with stakeholders in the project area and how to engage supporting technical expertise are the most important qualifications.
 
Our prime motivation now is to save and regenerate these forests for future generations and to provide our forest dependent communities jobs and alternative livelihoods.
 
If no action is taken now, then these forests will cease to exist in as little as 20 years. REDD offers us the chance to do something about this and we intend to succeed in using it as a mechanism to protection these forests regardless of the criticism and hurdles we may face.
 
We are fully committed and have a deep passion and personal interest to make this work.
 
So sadly, NO Taliban, and NO illegal-logging mafia.
 
Obviously it gives you a good, ‘look at those corrupt Pakistanis’, story for the day but it undermines and seriously damages three years of hard work put in by hundreds of people in the country trying to make a difference.
 
There is genuine wrenching poverty in these areas and forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. So the community and provincial government take it upon themselves to do something about it through a mechanism that has international backing. And the benefits of this innovative approach are simply dismissed by you all for what seems like a tabloid-style story for your website.
 
Chris, you clearly have strong views on the potential pitfalls of REDD, but to make such serious allegations against us without so much as a phone call or email, will not help anyone.
 
For the sake of what you thought was an ‘appealing story’ you have cast aspersions on me and the people and the government of both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir.
 
Plus you have thrown the Taliban into the mix. Why, what is the implication here?
 
I would personally like to invite you to come with me to Pakistan to see the work we are doing and to write about what you see on the ground.
 
It is not all corrupt politicians, corrupt institutions and extremists. Contrary to what you may have heard or believe, there are good people in the country.
 
If you really want to report the truth then please come and see what we are doing and then make an informed opinion.
 
I’m sure your readers would appreciate your efforts to dig for the truth. I appreciate you are a busy man, but the offer is genuine and there for you. We have NOTHING to hide.
 
If not, then I wish you well in your ‘anti-Third-World potential REDD corruption’ crusade. You did a great job on the anti-roads campaign in the UK I am sure you will help weed out corruption in REDD.
But in us, I can genuinely say that this time you have picked the wrong target.
 
Pakistan has made great strides in recent years to become REDD ready.
 
Through the tireless work of the country’s Inspector General of Forest Syed Mehmood Nasir, the country has achieved observer status on UN-REDD.
 
There is healthy debate in the country on how REDD can work here and leading environmentalist groups, stakeholders and government officials are all fully engaged and involved in making sure the problem of deforestation and forest degradation is tackled in the best way possible.
 
But based on the evidence on your article on us, you clearly are happy just to label ALL of us as corrupt, criminal extremists and maybe ask questions later.
 
Sincerely
 
Surriekha Khan for and on behalf of Nawabzada Mohammed Fayyaz Khan, Nawabzada Ayaz Rustam Khan, Saleem Ullah Khan, Mohammed Irshad Khan, Jahanzeb Khan Advocate, Adil Nawaz Khan, Khalid Khan, Haji Jan Mohammed Khan, Mohammed Nawaz Khan (Jagirdar Hillan), Fida Mohammed Khan Allai, Mohammed Farosh Khan Allai, Kurshid Mohammed Khan Thakot, Atta Ullah Kha Thakot, Ameer Khan Kohistan, Abdul Rashid Khan, Afsar Khan, Ghulam Mustafa Shimlai, Syed Vakil Shah Manshera, Syed Nasir Shah Manshera, Shehzad Hussain Shah Mansehra, Mohammed Ali Wald, Mohammed Ajmal Kangwal Allai.

 

From: Chris Lang
Date: 21 February 2012 13:42
Subject: Re: Merlins Wood and REDD-type projects in Pakistan
To: Surriekha Khan
 
Dear Surriekha Khan,
 
Thank you for your response to REDD-Monitor’s questions. I have posted your reply today. However, several questions remain about Merlins Wood and its REDD projects in Pakistan including some of REDD-Monitor’s previous questions.
 
While corruption is one of the risks involved in REDD, REDD-Monitor is not, as you suggest part of an “anti-Third-World potential REDD corruption crusade”. I wrote about this particular company because it seemed curious that Merlins Wood, a company registered in the UK, with only £200 capital and no experience of REDD, forestry or conservation projects would attempt to carry out this type of project. The fact that the Merlin Wood’s website provides no further information about the project just made me more curious.
 
As you say you have nothing to hide, I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” as Louis D. Brandeis famously noted in 1913. I would like to post your reply as an interview on REDD-Monitor, so I would be grateful if you could respond to the specific questions rather than writing a general reply.
 
1. Your response does not explain exactly how Merlins Wood intends to reduce deforestation in its project areas, although you note that “Deforestation is a huge problem in Pakistan and is particularly high in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” and that, “If no action is taken now, then these forests will cease to exist in as little as 20 years.” Could you please explain exactly what action Merlins Wood intends to take to reduce deforestation.
 
2. The previous post on REDD-Monitor referred to the Taliban control of Swat district between 2007 and 2009. This was based on an IPS article published in January 2012 (linked from the R-M article). The reference to illegal logging mafia came from an article titled “Illegal logging in Swat”, by PACT Radio, also linked from the R-M article. You include “illegal logging for commercial sale” among the key drivers of deforestation. Are you claiming that the Taliban did not control Swat district, or was it simply in an area outside your proposed project area? Perhaps it would help if you could provide a map of your project area, marked to indicate where the Taliban controlled the land and where the illegal logging is currently taking place.
 
3. You write that “The company Merlins Wood was founded by me to develop REDD projects in Pakistan”. Merlins Wood was registered with Companies House on 10 June 2009. The only director was Barbara Kahan. You became director on 12 August 2009. The object of the company was “To carry on business as a General Commercial Company”. There was no mention of REDD until the Articles of Association of the company were amended in December 2011 following a General Meeting of the company. Please confirm that this is in fact the case.
 
4. The Merlins Wood website includes several pages of timber species (walnut, lacewood, pine, yew and fir). At the top of each page are the words “Suppliers of Himalayan hardwoods and softwoods”. A page titled “Merlins Wood Timber Seasoning” explains that, “For our steaming and drying process we use steamers and kilns manufactured by Nardi Srl of Italy.” Could you please explain this? Was (or is) Merlins Wood a timber trader/importer?
 
5. You describe REDD as “the ONLY alternative available to us at the moment to halt this alarming trend before we lose all our forest cover.” Globally over the years, there have been many attempts to reduce deforestation and to protect forests. Some are more successful than others. Why do you consider REDD to be the only alternative in this particular area of the world?
 
6. You write that collaborating partners include “agencies under UN One”. Are you referring to United Nations agencies? Please clarify which UN agencies are collaborating on the KP project and explain exactly what their role is.
 
7. You write that “Carbon development is being outsourced to the leading carbon development technical specialist in the field”. What is the name of the company that you are referring to? Could you please provide contact details for the staff from this company who are working on this project.
 
8. You mention that you intend to provide “economic incentives to communities for sustainable forest management”. Could you please explain exactly how you intend to do this and how you propose to determine that the forest management being carried out is “sustainable”. Will this involve a forest certification system? If so, which one?
 
9. You don’t mention free, prior and informed consent in your response, but you explain that “Merlins Wood represents the interest of ALL the major landholders with the consent and support – who are heads of their communities”. Could you please explain how Merlins Wood (or its consultants) carried out a process of free, prior and informed consent. And could you explain how you explained carbon trading to all concerned.
 
10. “To date, we have completed a feasibility study for the project,” you write, “which was completed by a leading firm in the field.” Could you please send a copy of this feasibility study. Which company carried out the study?
 
11. You write that, “The KP project activities were evaluated for their potential to increase carbon sequestration and reduce emissions, and based on the eligibility guidelines under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) for the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project type.” Which firm carried out this evaluation? Could you please send me a copy.
 
12. You write that, “Carbon development work for creation of the VCS and CCB PDs has now begun.” Which company is writing the Project Documents?
 
13. I previously asked whether Merlins Wood actually has an office in Berkeley Square, or whether it is a virtual office. I also asked how many people Merlins Wood employs. You replied, “Merlins Wood in the UK has a small staff and small offices in Berkeley Square UK.” So how many people does Merlins Wood employ? And is the office in Berkeley Square a virtual office?
 
14. I previously asked about whether you were concerned about the current price of carbon and the fact that the ETS is in crisis. I asked, “How many carbon credits do you expect to generate and how much do you anticipate being able to sell them for?” You replied that, “we are confident that the number of credits our project produces will more than adequately cover costs, provide an income for all stakeholders and will ensure the project succeeds.” One of the problems with carbon trading, as The Munden Project points out, is that a large amount of the money generated goes to intermediaries rather than to communities. I would be grateful if you could provide an overview of how many credits you expect to generate, how much income you hope to produce and where this money will end up. You must have, presumably, explained this already to the communities living in the project area as well as to the Government of Pakistan.
 
15. To clarify, REDD-Monitor did not accuse Merlins Wood of bribing anyone. Barrister Iftikhar Gillani, an opposition politician in Pakistan was reported as saying that “We believe that kickbacks, not in rupees but dollars and pounds, are involved in this highly controversial and dubious deal.” Your company is registered in the UK and you are a British citizen, according to the company registration documents. REDD-Monitor’s question was as follows: As of 16 December 2011, according to documents filed with Companies House, Merlins Wood had capital of £200. How does the company plan to raise the finance to carry out the two REDD-type projects? I would be grateful for an answer to this question.
 
16. You confirm that you have “no experience of implementing a REDD project”, but add that “we have allied ourselves with the leading experts in the field to drive forward development of the carbon asset.” Could you please name the companies with which Merlins Wood has “allied” itself and please explain the contractual relationship between Merlins Wood and these companies.
 
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Please consider your response to be on the record.
 
Regards, Chris Lang

 

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24 Comments

  1. Chris is totally right in his observations. But Surriekha Khan is also not wrong, because she is also PAYING the custodians (officers of the Forest Department) for nurturing her business. None, but the officers of the Forest Department are the mafia responsible for deforestation of the natural forests of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The mafia is supported by the civil bureacracy and the political mafia especifically the ministers. Can anyone on the face of the earth let me know, from where these Forest Officers are making properties all over the country? Are they getting millions in pay and allowances? The ministers are getting millions from the blue eyed officers and those officers are making billions from selling the forests. So where is the problem? All are happy and all is well. Who cares and who bother to monitor? Shame on such ill-democracy, which promotes corruption, nothing else.

  2. The querries inquired from Ms Surrekha Khan are to be replied swiftly as in Azad Kashmir thare is a lot of hue and cry about this new firm called Merlin Wood based in Uk.As the concept of REDD is highly important to be used as a defying objective for saving the Forests in KPK and AJK, the concept has many Questions please look up at Goggle in issues about REDD .If any Company wants to work in following this concept i would sincerly hope that reputation Internationally with any sucess story credited to the firm Merlin wood is very important .
    After the firm is highly reputed then comes the fact that the people residing near these forests as the basic stake holders of the REDD concept ,then please the problems about the land tenure system and the main owner ship of carbon credits are a big issue which if not addressed properly by REDD will promulgate severe problems because in this part of the world community forestry concept requires that ownership be addressed properly .The complex land tenure system in which the rights of the stake holders if not addressed properly will simply fail the project before its launch.The things are in a confusion until they are shared with the community and hopfully not asserted upon them is the key to sucess in any community project.We wait in detail to answers from Surekkha Khan.Thank you all

  3. As the Chairman of the Pakistan National Council (PNC) of the IUCN we are very aware of the issues relating to REDD. It is imperative that we get the answers to questions posed. Pakistan is in desperate need of reforestation as this resource has now been reduced to 2% of land cover. May please Merlin Wood respond sooner rather than later, so that we may all come to some conclusion on this matter.

  4. @Shahid Sayeed Khan (#4) – Thanks for this. I’ll remind Surriekha Khan I’m still waiting for a response to the questions. I’ll point out that it’s not just me that’s waiting…

  5. An article in Pakistan Today gives a little more information about this project: “Terra Global Capital has partnered with Merlins Wood to carry out the carbon development work and market the pioneering projects.”

    Merlins Wood signs MoU with KP and AJK govts

    STAFF REPORT 14 hrs ago

    ISLAMABAD – In order to implement the United Nations initiative on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as UN-REDD with the goal of helping countries implement REDD+ strategies, Merlins Wood on Monday signed an MoU at a local hotel with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to develop a REDD+ project in the province. The company also has a similar MoU in place with the Government of Azad State of Jammu and Kashmir. Terra Global Capital has partnered with Merlins Wood to carry out the carbon development work and market the pioneering projects.

    REDD Managing Director Sareeba, Leslie Durschinger, founder and managing director, Terra Global Capital, officials from UN REDD+ projects and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and environment experts attended the MoU signing ceremony. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. “REDD+” goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

    In short, the goal of REDD projects isn’t just to reduce rates of deforestation, but rather, to reduce deforestation by creating an immediate financial incentive for the local people derived from keeping the forests intact, which should have the byproduct of reducing carbon emissions.

    REDD+ projects, don’t just stop deforestation, however, but rather are designed “to support the voluntary efforts of developing country parties to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, promoting conservation and the sustainable management of forests, and enhancing forest carbon stocks.

    While highlighting objectives and progress on REDD in KPK and AJK, Leslie Durschinger, founder and managing director, Terra Global Capital, said the idea behind REDD was simple that countries willing and able to reduce emissions from deforestation should be financially compensated for doing so.

    “But REDD+ goes far beyond just deforestation and aims to address climate change and rural poverty, while conserving biodiversity and sustaining vital ecosystem services. REDD also promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders including indigenous peoples and other forest dependent communities,” she said.

    Talking about The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) project, Durschinger said this project was located over 300,000 hectares of forest and rangeland in the districts of Battagram, Swat and Mansehra. “The province is home to Pakistan’s most important remaining tract of Himalayan forest. Due to population pressures, poverty, and illegal land-use activities, these forests are disappearing at a rate of more than 3 percent per year,” she added.

    The goal of the project is to reduce GHG emissions from deforestation and degradation through implementation of sustainable land use practices and livelihood improvements to local communities. A consortium of various government and non-government agencies in Pakistan including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest and Wildlife Departments, have partnered with Merlins Wood Pakistan to initiate the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) REDD project as a means of implementing a series of actions designed to mitigate the key drivers of deforestation.

    Key drivers of deforestation in the area include illegal commercial timber harvesting, fuelwood gathering, free grazing of livestock, and agriculture and settlement expansion. The project will support approximately 70 villages and a population of 200,000 in KP to develop and strengthen the capacity of Village Development Committees (VDCs) as a means of supporting the sustainable management of forest resources.

    The project area is a part of Pakistan’s last remaining tract of Himalayan moist temperate forest. These forests play a critical role in climate and watershed regulation. It is thought that the recent flooding in Pakistan can be attributed to the continued loss of these critical forests. The forests in the project area are host to more than 600 plant species, 24 of which are endangered. Prominent tree species include the Chir pine, blue pine, silver fir and spruce.

    There are also more than 130 plant species of particular ethno-botanic importance in the region, which contribute substantially to community livelihoods and health through medicinal purposes.

    The area is also home to the Snow Leopard, one of the most endangered big cats in the world.

    The project will work closely with local conservation NGOs to monitor and protect snow leopard populations. In addition to snow leopards, the project is home to a number of other endangered or vulnerable species, including the Western Trapogan, Markhor, Asian black bear, and a population of white langur monkeys.

    In order to combat illegal logging, a problem that persists as a result of unsustainable land-use activities, the provincial forest department will work with local communities to patrol and protect forest areas and to develop sustainable land-use plans to manage natural resources.

    Project activities, implemented in partnership with local communities, include sustainable land-use planning, forest patrolling and protection, Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR), fire prevention, introduction of fuel efficient stoves, planting of woodlots, agricultural intensification, livestock management, development and sale of forest products, and a suite of livelihood and social improvement activities. It is envisioned that the project will serve as a model for the implementation of additional community focused REDD projects in Pakistan, and will inform the implementation of a provincial and national level nested-REDD programme.

    The project will work directly with approximately 70 local villages living in and around the forest areas of Battagram, Swat and Mansehra to provide alternative incomes and improve livelihoods.

    Direct employment will be provided to patrol forest areas, implement ANR activities and plant woodlots. Training will be provided on sustainable agricultural practices and livestock management to both increase productivity and reduce forest pressure.

    In addition, the project will implement NTFP enterprise development programmes to facilitate the collection, marketing and sale of forest products. More broadly, through the generation of revenues from the sale of carbon, the project will provide village level improvements such as clean drinking water supply, rural electrification, alternative energy development, establishment of primary schools, access to community health centers and vocation development.

    Gender mainstreaming will be a core aspect of the project, implementing women directly into the process of land-use planning and resource use.
    The project will utilize Village Development Committees (VCDs) and Women’s Organisations (WOs) to implement and manage a suite of livelihood and social improvement activities in the project area.

  6. Seema Saeed has raised very serious reservations and levied corruption charges on all forest officers of KPK; but there is no one in KPK to respond to her corruption allegations which otherwise seems acceptable to them. The other thing is that Merlins wood has also not responded to observations raised by Chris, which is their moral obligation to respond item wise and clarify their firm from these observations. I as a common man expect responses both from KPK and merlins wood.

  7. Ladies and Gents, a very sincere advice to you all. The project is not kicked off yet. Even the readiness to start process might be in process. I have worked in construction industry for a long time in petrochemical discipline. We all know that there are trick of trades. Instead we are causing suspiciousness and hinder the moral of a lady Who is trying to do something in Pakistan which is beneficial not only for one party but also for the communities. When we used to work at rigs one wise man taught us that honey and money never comes together. There are always pros and cons. Let the show begin and things will get more transparent and prominent. But we must not forget when you are in Rome, do as Roman do!

  8. @Ahmed khan (#8) – Perhaps you are right and Surriekha Khan and her company Merlins Wood are “trying to do something in Pakistan which is beneficial not only for one party but also for communities”. If this is the case, however, why doesn’t Surriekha Khan answer the questions about the project?

  9. With great regret, I wish to inform the readers and public that during the rule of National Awami Party, the deforestation has exacerbated manifold in the region of Allai Valley including District Kohistan. During my stay in Allai valley, I visited the DFO’s office in Battagram and found agents of timber mafia loitering around the office. The DFO seemed to have little interest in protecting the forest. I was told that in one of the meetings with an NGO (Sangi), it was pointed out by young chap that the trees were being mercilessly hacked down in Allai Valley and if it continued entire mountains surrounding the valley would lose forest cover in coming five years. Instead of encouraging the young boy, the DFO scornfully replied that the same number of trees were being grown in the mountain of Allai every year. Can I ask the DFO to show me or anyone a single tree or even a sapling that has been planted. We should realize that forest cover is the asset of our country especially as they add to the beauty of northern areas. The forest department and officials must realize that these forests are their bread and butter.
    There is no doubt that the forest officers are hand in glove with the timber mafia merely for the purpose of making a quick buck. The forest of Sorgai, Choora, Jabber, Cobra Top and Lamgut are ample proof of places where thriving forests were cut down with the connivance of Forest Dept (Pukhtoonkhwa).
    Moreover, during the recent torrential rains all the corrupt practices were exposed. The timber dumped at various sites was swept away by the flood water and most of them were without the legal acknowledgement stamp. I propose that a judicial enquiry be conducted against the timber mafia. When will we learn from our history and experiences? Keeping in view the preceding facts, I would like to ask the government of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa whether there is any justification for the existence of Forest Department. This looks like financing a white elephant. No foreign donor shall finance the projects envisaged by these officials and no one will trust them as they have lost their trust owing to their connivance with the timber mafia.
    – MUHAMMAD SALEEM KHAN ALLAI, Hazara, October 20.
    Dear Surriekha Khan,
    It is pleasure to know that their is someone in the world who care for forest. People talk of forest conservation but hardly I found anyone who care for its growth. I belong to the valley of Allaiin District Battagram. The name of people you have mentioned in Battagram owning foresting are hardly known. The major chunk of forested land belong to my family known as “Allai”. The secretary forest or Conservator forest are the most corrupt people and they have no intrest in the conservation of forest. Please write to me in detail so that I acknowledge that at least someone from this region want that the bio diversity should exist and be preserve for the future generation.

  10. Prime Minister, Pakistan
    The Chief Minister, Pukhtoonkhwa
    Inspector General Forest(Islamabad)

    Subject: DEFORESTATION IN ALLAI VALLEY

    Sir,

    1. With great regret I will submit that during the rule of National Awami Party the deforestations has been exacerbated manifold in the region of Allai Valley including District Kohistan. During my recent visit to Allai Valley, in June-July 2010, I saw pickups and DateSuns full of scants/logging being transported to Thakot via various forest barriers on Allai road. These were not legal timber which are being transported at day time after being acknowledge at forest barriers. I asked several people on my way and I was told that staff posted at barriers are getting Rs.4000.00 per pickup for letting it go through these Barriers. I also got it confirm that local influential personal including elected representative and local officers are exerting their influence in letting the mafia to remain scot free.
    2. I visited Sorgai, an area of 22000 kanal where there was flourishing forest in 2005 but now there is not even a single tree in the whole area. The same way I visited Choora, and found the mafia agents busy in cutting green tree with the connivance of Forest Dept. The forest of Jabber, Ganja, Urnai , Cobra Top & Pashto forest are being cut down and their was seen no forest official to report the same.
    3. During my stay in Allai Valley I visited DFO (Forest ) Office in Battagram and found all the mafia agent being loitering around the office . The DFO is no more interested in the protection of forest. I was told that in one of the meeting with NGO (Sangi) it was pointed out by young chap that forest are being mercilessly cut down in Allai Valley and if it continued the whole mountain would be denuded in coming five years. Instead of encouraging the young boy the DFO scornfully replied that the same number of trees are being grown in the mountain of Allai every year. Can I ask the DFO to let me know one single tree minded officer in the whole of Forest Dept (Pukhtoonkhwa) or how many sapling grows to mature trees.
    4. We should realize that High Forestry are the asset of our country and a trust of the coming generation. The Forest Official must realize that their bread and butter is because of these forests and they are killing the hen which is laying golden eggs for them.
    5. It is beyond doubt that all the Forest Officers and official are encouraging the mafia to cut down forest as each one of them is having a share out of the booty. The forest of Sorgai, Choora, Jabber, Cobra Top and Lamgut are ample proof where thriving forest were cut down with the tacit connivance of Forest Dept (Pukhtoonkhwa). These officers have no conscience and sense of responsibilities. There religion is money and they can sell out their sense at any cost suitable to them. No Rang Officer & Forester was seen in the mountains.
    6. Chief Minister sahib, you are a young man and the younger generation are expecting from you Good Governance. The anarchy in Forest Dept (Pukhtoonkhwa) give vent to the fact that these Forest Officers including your Conservator Hazara Div and Chief Conservator, Peshawer are your hand picked personals and their administration in their respective areas are reflecting the actual governance of National Awami Party. Tomorrow when we will meet somewhere I will point to the fact that the actual asset of Pukhtoonkhwa were cut down during your rule in the Province & you were simply watching the destruction of natural resources.
    7. If you read National Geographic magazine or would have watched a 14 minutes film, where a Mansehra resident help the BBC in capturing the hunting spree of a snow leopard at Chatral. The same film was watch by 22 million people around the world when it was telecasted by BBC & National Geographic. On the other hand Seven people of Rashang village spent 5 nights in front of a den for killing of the animal, at Ganja mountain.( where a snow leopard was expected to be in).
    8. Musk dears are at the verge of extinction and their habitats are dwindling as the forest are reducing. Civilized Nations are promoting their wild life and preserve their habitats. In the Month of May a group of hunter from Allai valley killed 6 female musk dears many of them were pregnant. This fact is known to the concern Wild Life Dept in Battagram.
    9. The irony of fat is that one SP (Police) was given a monal pheasant (the most beautiful pheasant) as a present by a local Khan instead of caging the pheasant he slaughtered the same and made trophy out of the skin.(Known to wild life Battagram) If a police Officer openly turn into a criminal and there is no personal of caliber to register a case against the offender in Wild Life Dept how do they justify their existence.
    10. In April 2010, one female black bear was killed and its cubs were sold out for Rs..150,000.00.
    11. A fishery was established at Belakwar(Biari) for the promotion of trout fish but it yielded no results. No doubt the watcher was very honest and hard working person posted at the fishery but his advices always fell on the deaf ears. They are so stone hearted people that one watcher(Mr.Shah Nazar) who was suffering from deep rooted skull cancer was advised to quit by appearing before a medical board. The poor guy was in his own agonies and did not know what would be the consequences if he quit his job.Mr.Tanveer (inspector) played a heinous role in laying him off from his job. Now his family is without bread and his ailment has been cured but he lost his job, his dignity .
    12. In recent torrential rain all the corrupt practices has been exposed. The timber dumped at different sites were swept away toward the downward areas and most of them were without moos (legal acknowledgement stamp). It is said that the river of Rashang called Manda Khwar was full of scant & logging which ultimately swelled with timber and further accelerated the speed of gushing water causing flood and damage to the surrounding areas.
    13. I will request that a judicial enquiry be conducted against the deforestation if the setting government is interested in the preservation of forest where one tree provide oxygen to 300 people and filters 139 kg of carbondioxides per annum.

    When will we learnt from our experiences. Are we a corrupt nation? Are we not capable to rule? . Keeping in view the above I would like to ask the government of Khyber pukhtoonkhwa if there is any justification for the continuation of Forest Dept in K.Pukhtoonkhwa or is this like financing white elephants. No foreign donor shall finance the projects envisaged by these officials and no one will trust them as they have lost their trust in the mind of the people. The Forest College Peshawer fail to produce tree minded or tree caring officer since its establishment and the same way training centers at Thai (Abbotabad) and other places could not trained a cadres that we can proud of.

    Muhammad Saleem Khan Allai
    Member National Geographic Society

    Village Pokal, Tehsel Allai,
    Dist. Battagram, Hazara,
    Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa.

    Cell No. 03218752021

  11. Dear Surriekha khan,

    I read your letter regarding signing of two MOU with the KP in pakistan. As I have been working for the conservation of forest and wild life in my Valley”Allai” situated in Battagram. I have also forwarded some of my application and news print that substantially illustrate that forest Department of Khyberpukhtoonkhwa never been intrested in forest protection. The Office of DFO in Battagram is always packed with mafia agents who pays to DFO and get the illegal cutted down logs through to market. The forest of Sorgai in Allai valley was spread on twenty two thousant kanals but now there is no tree to be seen there. I advise you that please do not trust in forest Department of KP. They are black sheep and simply devour the money which ditined for the conservation purposes.

    Muhammad Saleem Khan Allai
    cell: 923218752021

  12. Sureikha Khan,

    Thanks for your prompt reply, as I was contacted by your father in the evening and we had a nice discussion.
    I donot think Mr.Chris Lang has said any bad thing about the project and the same time I admit that you are also right in your vision and effort to make your country green. On the basis of my experience,I also suspect every move regarding the conservation of forest in Pakistan and particularly in Khyberpukhtoonkhwa. I have seen dozen of NGOs that came for the protection of forest but proved only white elephant rather exacerbated the deforestation. Forest is green gold and its immediate gain is so high that it has closed the eyes of even well aware people from the fact that human and wild life depend on forest. Its annihilation is the extiction of both animal plus human life. The water cycle is a proof and can be cited to common man.
    You have said that you depend on the expertise of forester, graduated from Forest College and Agriculture Universty of Peshawer. I think your this perception is based on misinformation. It is the irony of fate that Forest College Peshawer and Agriculture university fail to produce even a single tree minded student who could plan forest and wild life consevation after comming the college premises.
    Seema Saeed is very right in her observation that no forest officer and official care for the tree rather they help the mafia agents in deforestation and we have ample proof against these monsters. It is the insult of human being to call these forest official “tru human beings” They are involve in nafarious design against existing forest and are responsible for deforestation in KP.
    The thriving forest of “Sorgai” in Allai Valley and the same time forest of Fir and Suproos in Kangwal (Allai) was cut down by mafia with the connivance of Forest Department. More than eight hundered thousand trees were illegally logged in the past five years but not a single forester was terminated or mafia agents were jailed. If this is not an ample proof against these monsters then what you want?

    You are right in your approach that if these forest were not protected soon after five years their will be no tree on mountain and the existing forest would cease to exist.

    You seem to have been offended by Chris Lang remarks or quaries where you have used the word”aspersion”. Actually, in Pakistan corruption has reached to every level and no body trust other but this does not mean that everyone is corrupt. We have people of calibre but the question is how to identify these people? why organization fail in acheiving their objective is because they fail to identify the right people.
    I do not think their is any Talibanisation. Their is no coersion in relgion is the saying of Allah(God) in “the Holy Quran” No body can force any thing against us nor we want to go back to the cave age following Taliban teaching OR MODEL OF Islam. We do not have any respect or regard for Taliban. These people are the creation of agencies and the majority of local people hate them and their brand of “Islam”.
    The Inspector General of Forest has no crdibility.As everyone know that beaurocracy/establishment in Pakistan has no integrity nor they are intrested in the development of Pakistan what matter to them is their personal agrandisement and welfare of their families. They never cared for national intrest.

    I am sorry to say that the name you have mentioned as the tru owner of “Ghuzara forest” are not correct. Some of the men identified by you are dealing in illegal logging and they have no reputation in localities. In Allai Valley my family” Allai Khans” own the major chunk of forest but non of our family member is there in the list. The same time in Village Gangwal, Pashto, Bateela ( in Allai Tehsel) the major owner is no where.

    I assure you that for the preservation of bio diversity We shall help you in every way even if our blood required we will offer to save this precious natural source for the well being of human and animal life.

    Anyhow I appreciate your efforts for making my mother land green and preserving the forest for the coming generation.

    Muhammad saleem Khan Allai
    Adress: Village Pokal, tehsel Allai,
    District: Battagram, Khyberpukhtoonkhwa,
    Pakistan.
    Cell: 92-3218752021
    Email: alaiwal@yahoo.com
    Facebook: alaiwal@yahoo.com

  13. hi sureekha khan

    AOA

    I am looking in to this redd++ issue from last year when your organization sign an MOU with KPK govt as i belong to mansehra and i own forest land in mansehra and battagram as well,my family and so many other people who interested in this project and have huge forest land in mansehra and battagram.I have gone through the koyoto protocal which is the base of this climate change issue.
    Since 1947 till date there is no forest policy adopted this green gold has been looted by all either official or private owners rather the big land owner.I am not going in the past stories as it will be the wastge of time there are some issues which needs to discussed on table as i tried to meet you but could not got your contact no and adress of your officce in pakistan. I appriciat your efforts and pray for you.

    SALAHUDIN KHAN
    ADVOCATE
    ABBOTTABAD
    CELL 03335026009

  14. hello surreikha khan

    I hope you must busy in your project on redd++ in Pakistan.your father came to Abbottabad and discuss lot of things about this project but i am still not clear about the methodology of this carbon collection.what will be the plan, how will you manage it. As you have proposed that your company needs 300000 hector of forest.
    I have gone through the questions raised by mr. lang in details.His points are genuine and the forest are vanishing which is alarming for the country and community as well.As there is a ban on the cutting green forest from 1992,but illicit cutting is still in progress, due to this practices-es we the forest owner are deprived from our resources by these timber mafia.the ecology of this Himalayan region is in danger.as from your response your thinking about this issue are also positive and i apriciate your view but will it be materialised in near future.
    when you are coming to pakistan as these issue are to discussed face to face as told your father the other day.I will send some pics of our forest if send me your email id.
    With regards

    SALAHUDIN KHAN
    ADVOCATE ABBOTTABAD
    EMAIL salahudinkhalid@gmail.com
    cell 03335026009

  15. This is in response to Salahudin Advocate. I do not know if Surekha ever exist or this is some thing like Moulana Umar who has never been seen. Her father speak about the project but never even been clear about the blue prints of the project. I made the same requeste as you made but her father called me on cell and never reply me directly.
    The mafia has no inytrest in ecology or future generation. they have one intrest and it is to earned money.The accomplice of the mafia is the forest Dept of KP(the most corrupt and nefarious creatures on this planet). DFOs or Conservator are usually from Peshawer and they have no interest in the florishing of forest. They come like docoit take their share of the booty and purchase plots in Hyatabad.

  16. Well, there is no need to belabour this discussion. The fact is that each and everyone is involved in the corruption related to illegal forest harvesting. So whom we expect that he will take action against corruption? In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Minister of Environment himself is involved in posting those officers in the forest areas, who agree to his illegal demands. The minister Wajid Ali has purchased the royalty of thousands of hectares of forest area in Kohistan, Swat, Kalam and Manshera. His middlemen are two – Tariq Shah (his personal assistant from forest department) and Amjad (his another personal assistant from forest development corporation). Both these persons are working on behalf of minister and they purchase the royalties of forests from the poorest rural areas living in the vicinity of the forests. Once they purchase the royalties in connivance of the concerned officers, then they start harvesting in these areas on the pretext that such harvesting is only restricted to extraction of dead and dying trees. Each and everyone in the forest department and in this business is aware of these illegal harvesting of forests, but there is none who can open the mouth against these vultures. If anyone bothers to resist the moves of these vultures, he is first pressurized by one of the two personal assistants and later he is transferred from that position.
    If someone is interested in further details, please do contact me, any one working in environmental NGOs or any officer of the Forest Department. Rather the officers of the forest department can provide greater details, if they are taken in confidence. Goodluck Pakistan and your ill democracy, which is yielding the cattamites and characterless rulers to ruin us!

  17. please let this lady and the company at least start the project in concerend forests and if they dont come up to the expectations then we can point fingers on them.Govt of KPK should only pay in parts as per progress of the project.

  18. Dear all,

    In my opinion, it’s not Ms Khan’s obligation to answer all these questions. For example, the experience of the company in REDD, and when they began to pursue this, is not REDD Monitor’s business. Anybody can make a foray into any pursuit (i.e. media) without prior experience, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect on the merits of their project.
    There’s a first step to everything.
    If Ms Khan chooses to respond to that question, I would think it only fair that you post your full and unedited CV up here as well Chris. That way, all those in favour of quality REDD projects – and agree on its urgent need, and that REDD should be allowed to launch, in order to progress and develop, such as Ms Khan and Ahmed Khan – will be free to poke holes in it.
    Also, a controlled quantity of timber may be harvested and replanted from REDD projects under some methodologies (e.g. VM0015). It will be weighed against the baseline and either validated or not by the auditor, depending on the level. That way, controlled, sustainable harvesting (FSC certified, for instance), can be a valid part of a quality REDD project.

    Best wishes, David

  19. @David S (#19) – Thanks for this. I agree that anyone can do anything. I’m a qualified architect, but since the early 1990s I’ve worked on environmental issues (you can read more about me here). Feel free to poke holes in whatever you like. For the last four years I’ve worked on REDD-Monitor. I disclose all REDD-Monitor’s funding sources here.

    At the time I asked these questions, (February 2012), there was practically no information available on Merlins Wood’s website about the company’s proposed project in Pakistan. Only one of the questions is about the company’s experience. Most of the questions are requests for further information about what the company plans to do in its project areas. Perhaps Surriekha Khan is planning to do FSC-certified “sustainable forest management” (although there is no mention of FSC on the company’s website). There is now a bit more information available on Merlins Wood’s website.

    Eight months have passed since I asked the questions, so I think it’s pretty unlikely that Surriekha Khan is planning to answer any of them. I wonder why not?

  20. Well congratulations to all. The corrupt leaders of ANP destroyed the party. People like Wajid Ali (ex-minister for last five years), who destroyed natural forests of the province failed miserably in the general elections. Hopefully, the forests of KP Province can be saved now as corrupt leaders are no more in assembly to rule us.

  21. … unfortunately, another member of Timber Mafia i.e. Alhaj Abrar from Manshera became the Forest Minister. WoW…..
    Is this what people expect from NEW Pakistan of Imran Khan?

  22. Please refer to my letter of 5th March 2012. in response to Chris lang’s request for an answer from Merlin Woods.

    Please keep me informed as to developments in this area as we in the IUCN continue to be extremely concerned about our depleting forests by the corrupt Forest Officials and others.

    Shahid Sayeed Khan
    Chairman
    Pakistan national Council of IUCN.

  23. Shahid Sayeed Khan
    ….. sorry to say, but do you think that there is no corruption in IUCN Pakistan? If you can not control corruption in IUCN, how you can do so in the forests and forest department? To unearth corruption, you need a professional who has competency to differentiate between good governance and poor / bad or no governance. Just share the name of a single professional in IUCN Pakistan, who has the capacity to unearth corruption in forest department?

    The reality is that IUCN Pakistan never hired professionals on the basis of competency, qualifications and credibility. The only criterion in getting job in IUCN is the reference and to ensure job over there, you don’t have to object on the decisions of seniors. The result is in front of all, that people like Cheema and others are serving in IUCN. True professionals have no scope in IUCN. So, instead of showing your concern about depleting forests by the corrupt Forest Officials and others; you better concentrate on hiring true professionals in IUCN. Later you will have say to pin point corruption else where.
    Sorry, if the facts look harsh to you, but these are facts, which no one can deny.
    Regards